Carroll cameo ends in England agony

On-loan striker will miss World Cup qualifiers after injuring hamstring on debut for West Ham

Andy Carroll will miss England's two World Cup qualifying games against Moldova and Ukraine in the next 10 days after suffering a hamstring injury on his debut for West Ham yesterday.

Lacking match fitness he was due to be replaced in the 70th minute, but moments earlier he fell awkwardly in one of many aerial duels with Fulham defender Brede Hangeland and was forced to limp to the dressing room.

On his first start for the club, Carroll had been instrumental in helping West Ham to a 3-0 half-time lead, which they confidently held on to in the second half.

The Football Association confirmed that Carroll has pulled out of Roy Hodgson's squad and said no decision on his replacement will be taken until after today's three Premier League games.

Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager. said: "It is a cruel blow for him and us if it keeps him out for any length of time."

With Wayne Rooney already ruled out, Hodgson is likely to consider calling up Aston Villa forward Darren Bent.

Keeping his England place was one of the main reasons Carroll was persuaded to leave Liverpool on a season-long loan, after which West Ham have an agreement to buy him for £17million if they avoid relegation.

Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, was disappointed with the way his defenders failed to cope but, of Carroll's aerial ability, he said: "He's probably the best in the Premier League."

Jol also highlighted the fact that all three goals came from long balls and set-pieces, which upset Allardyce, who is sensitive to criticism of the direct style West Ham will now employ even more with Carroll as their target man.

"If Martin's team don't defend properly, he shouldn't criticise us," he said.

"Andy can help us to play to our strengths. Kevin Nolan can feed off him and he could have had a hat-trick."

Nolan, who scored the opening goal in the first minute, said: "I told Andy before the game that he had nothing to prove to anyone.

"He is disappointed with what went on at Liverpool but he showed today that he is a top striker in this league. We've been lucky to get him and he was absolutely fantastic."

A former West Ham striker, Carlos Tevez, was among the scorers as Manchester City beat Queen's Park Rangers 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.Yaya Touré and Edin Dzeko were also on target to maintain the Premier League champions' unbeaten start to the season.

Meanwhile, former Manchester United striker Michael Owen says he is confident of finding a new club in the "next few days" despite the closure of the transfer window.

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